“Did He Freeze?”

I have seen Black Panther. There was a lot to love about that movie.

A Very Special Episode

I’ve been enjoying the second season of One Day at a Time (the 2017 Netflix series). It’s very light, compared to just about everything else that I watch. And it’s very strange watching something filmed in, essentially, the multi-camera sitcom format, given how that format is essentially gone from TV.

In the first season, there were many many scenes in which I could really feel the hand of the writer shaping the structure of the scene. The acting was a little choppy. The second season, the acting is more solid, and I believe the characters a bit better. And it’s cute to see the 21st century equivalent of “very special episodes”. Thus far, we’ve had “Racism in the Shadow of 45’s Administration”, and “Gender Non-Binary People Exist and Confuse the Old People”, and “I Can’t Believe We’re Still Talking about Gun Ownership as an Individual Choice Instead of Actually Changing the Laws.” They’re ham-handedly on topic, but not entirely trite.

Part of my interest is that I used to devour the original series back as a kid. And while I can’t say that it was a good series, I watched it fairly regularly for the first five seasons. I started to lose interest when the core cast broke up (when MacKenzie Phillips was fired for drug issues). I like how the new series is using a re-scored version of the original theme music (although I otherwise find the “family album”-style opening credits underwhelming).

And here’s the thing I’m thinking about now. I watched a lot of TV as a kid (because what else was there to do in Sarnia, except develop a drug habit?), and I loved and consumed anything genre-related, even if it wasn’t very good (I’m looking at you, Star Lost). But when I filled the gaps between the few-and-far-between sf shows, I sought out sitcoms with female leads. One Day at a Time, and Alice, and The Facts of Life, and even Laverne and Shirley, and so forth. The show that feels like it should be on this list, but isn’t, is Mary Tyler Moore, which was approaching the end of its run in the mid-70s, which was when I started asserting my own tastes in TV. And then there’s Maude. One Day at a Time and The Facts of Life were probably the two that really leapt head-first into the “Very Special Episode” formula.

It’s really only just occurring to me now to think about the fact that, as a trans kid in the 70s, I hungered to see depictions of women interacting with other women and supporting each other through the twists and turns of life. And that that was going on at the same time that I was desperately trying to deny that trans-ness.


An Idea to Solve TimmiesGate

Serious Tablet for Serious Comics

Urk. I’ve done it. I’ve ordered a Cintiq.

Well, crap

It’s the “murderous trans woman” trope again.

2017 in TV and Film

This year, I’m just gonna embrace the fact that TV is now so much better than most movies, and I’m gonna lead with that.

Here are my top five TV series of 2017:

Number five: Stranger Things 2. The kids are back on their bikes and the upside down is still dangerous. Eleven has evolved from “pretty” to “bitchin’” and Steve turns out to be a pretty good baby sitter. The show was still fun, immersive, and creepy. I liked that we got to see more of the world, I liked how Eleven has tapped in to the Phoenix force, and I liked the evolution of many of the characters. Just about the only thing I didn’t like was Eleven’s jealous shunning of Max. A solid, fun show.

Read more

Thought for the Day

I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Dirge without Music”


I have a mastodon.social account. I’m @bcholmes@mastodon.social

SketchUp Experiments

I’ve recently been trying to develop my skill with Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp). I’ve never really done much in the way of 3D modelling before, so a bunch of this is really new to me.

The first time I tried using SketchUp was a few years ago, as a tool to help with comic panel background design. I bounced off of it pretty quickly because it wasn’t terribly intuitive. But I was recently inspired to try again after seeing some really wonderful photo-realistic renders on DeviantArt.

I watched a handful of very helpful YouTube video tutorials which helped to understand a bunch of 101- and 102-level things that made my second attempt with the tool far more successful. (This video of a SketchUp conference session, in particular, had a ton of good 102-level tips.)

So I sat down and tried my hand at modelling some basic rooms and then modelling my condo floorplan and so forth. And then I decided to try my hand at modelling something based on a real-world object. Actually, I used a piece of set furniture from the Star Trek: Voyager series. Their mess hall tables were mostly rectangular shapes (so: relatively easy) but with some complicated bits as well (so: good practice). I found it hard to find a good reference picture of the base of the table, but ultimately discovered a great photo from an auction held after the show ended. The web page that had the picture also gave me some great guidance on the size of the table. 30″ x 30″ and 27″ tall.

So with those guides, I set out to recreate the table in SketchUp. I screwed up my first attempt. But I did a not-bad job on the second attempt.

So: observations. First, the photo makes the table appear far more yellow/brass coloured than it appears in the show. I tried to stick with the greys of the show.

Second, I was aware, when I made it, that the rounded corners weren’t quite right. The photo reference has a more oval-shaped corner; mine’s round. That was a limitation in my knowledge: I didn’t know how to get a good round corner that’s not circular.

Third observation: in the bevelled part of the table, my angle is 45°. I think the actual table is a bit closer to 30°. Also, there’s a very subtle vertical edge that I’ve missed.

The flaring bits on the base of the table are too wide in my version. I’ve made them an inch wide — a half inch is probably closer. Lastly, the base needs to be wider, and the lower portion of the base is too tall. Minor things that can easily be corrected.

All-in-all I’m pleased with the practice.